Many states and counties are installing roundabouts to reduce congestion and improve safety at intersections. Roundabouts are new to many of us, and it can be confusing and dangerous when people don’t clearly understand how to navigate through a roundabout intersection. Don’t worry, we’re here to clear things up.
Slow down as you approach a roundabout. The roundabout will have a yellow "roundabout ahead" sign with an advisory speed limit for the roundabout. In a multi-lane roundabout, you will also see a black-and-white "lane choice" sign. You will need to choose the appropriate lane when approaching the roundabout.
Choose your lane in a multi-lane roundabout the same way you would in a traditional multi-lane intersection. Use the right lane to go right. Use the left lane to make a U-turn or go left. You can generally use the left or right lane to go straight.
Crosswalks are placed approximately 10 to 15 feet before the roundabout. Yield to pedestrians and bicyclists in the crosswalk.
Look to your left as you approach the dashed yield line and yield sign when entering the roundabout. All traffic already in the roundabout has the right-of-way.
If there is no traffic in the roundabout, you may enter without yielding. When you see a gap in traffic, enter the circle and proceed to your exit using your turn signal to indicate your exit.
Always stay in your lane as you navigate the roundabout. Avoid riding beside vehicles with trailers and oversized vehicles as they may need to straddle both lanes navigate the circle.
If you miss your exit, you must continue around the roundabout again and exit.
Yield to pedestrians and bicyclists in the crosswalk when exiting.
Roundabouts are designed to accommodate vehicles of all sizes, including emergency vehicles, buses, farm equipment and semi-trucks with trailers. Yield to oversized vehicles and vehicles with trailers in roundabouts as they may need to straddle both lanes while driving through a roundabout.
Many roundabouts are designed with a raised section of pavement around the central island that acts as an extra lane for large vehicles know as a truck apron. Oversized vehicles can easily navigate the circle by allowing the back wheels of the vehicle to ride up on the truck apron to complete the turn, while the raised portion of concrete discourages use by smaller vehicles.
Here is what you should do if you see an emergency vehicle approaching with its lights or sirens activated:
Roundabouts are safer intersections. The tight circle of a roundabout forces drivers to slow down, and the most severe types of intersection crashes such as left turn, right angle and head -on collisions are unlikely.
Studies show that major intersections that were converted to roundabouts had:
Research shows that traffic flow improves following conversion of traditional intersections to roundabouts. Less stopping, going, and idling, reduces emissions and fuel consumption.
Crosswalks are around the perimeter of the roundabout with traffic traveling at lower rates of speed than traditional intersections. Pedestrians crossing distances are relatively short, crossing only one direction of traffic at a time.